Sunday, 27 February 2011

Vale of Clwyd High Lights

I woke on Friday morning to rain and howling wind hitting my window after funnelling up the valley. I had planned to get outside somewhere after an indoors kind of few days at work.
So...the not so obvious option grabbed Tim and me and we headed for Bwlch Pen Barras with Pippin to go for a blast up Moel Famau.
As we walked up to the Moel (meaning baldy head in Welsh) and looked across the Vale it was sandwiched between a sky that was boiling and falling down and a dark boggy mountain.

I felt as if I was in a tupperware lunch box and the owner was peering in the lid to see what was for lunch.

where did you throw that fecking ball

Vale Tapestry

Moel Famau is the highest hill in the Clydians hills and  many of them are crowned with hillforts. Moel famau means Mother Mountain.


On the 30th Jan 2011 I wrote this.........
I have finally accepted that my 20year old scarpa walking boots need to hung up after walking the Rhiniogs in them last week and I bought a new pair today..I feel disloyal as they have taken me up and down dale and I am sure if I set them alone on a hilltop they would just keep going. I was going to light a ceremonial funeral pire but now think using them as plant pots would be more's funny how an old pair of boots can mean so much!
and this is my tribute to my Old Boots

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Natural Forces

I went for a walk down Pwll Gwyn Wood with Pip before work this morning. I felt a bit overwhelmed by the thought of what was in the diary but the morning was getting brighter and Pip was raring to go.
The 'shelf' field above the Wheeler Valley that looks SW over Denbigh Moors towards Snowdonia had a surreal peachy glow and eastwards towards Moel Famau the sky was golden. It was beautiful. The frost felt crunchy.

Some rooks or jackdaws..I can never tell which from a distance..... wheeled in a giant mobile over the woods and caaawed in a discord choir sounding as if they were saying something urgent and important. I wondered if it was to plan the days foraging, or to decide who gets to build on what branch or who was the most sexy bird.
The wood was filled with sound that seemed to fill every pitch and tone as the birds welcomed the dawn and the wonderful day they were about to have eating food and starting new life again.
I walked back up to the house feeling like a different person and ready to seize the day.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Oban 4-8th Feb 2011

Myself and my friend Liz went to Oban for a weekend. I nearly backed out as on the Thursday night I could not sleep a wink as the SW wind was intent in ripping the roof of my house and I did not think my kayak would stay on the car the following day. However, Liz assured me that there was little wind in Manchester so I left my lovely NDK Pilgrim at home and set off and borrowed her husband's kayak which was a bit big for me but twas grand.

Oban is on the west coast of Scotland inland of Mull. It is a small town but with a big heart as it is the gateway to Mull, Staffa, Iona and many more islands. It is framed by sea and freshwater lochs and hugged by Glencoe, Ben Nevis and a  towering magestic landscape...all iced with snow when we were there.

We stayed in Corran House , an independent hostel in an old Victorian house. (  What a find! -it was £15 a nite with ensuite, huge kitchen with everything in it even food (every spice you could think of) and an honesty mug to add to if you are inclined to honesty. We met some great characters and had some good whisky swopping sessions. Liz and me shared our dinner ( I always cook too much)  with a pair who were stranded in Oban after going all the way out to Coll on a ferry which couldn't dock and came all the way back again.

looking across to mainland from Lismore

On the Saturday we decided to walk instead of paddle as there was still quite a residual swell and after getting the ferry over to Lismore Island (20k long) and had a great walk taking in stunning views.

famous bridge-can't remember name where scotch hid while they swopped trousers for the banned kilt

Liz in a big sky
The next day we kayaked in area of Seil Island and were entertained when we pulled up on a beach by an otter having his lunch. He popped up like a cork bewteen every effort and crunched what he caught on a rock and had a pair of seagulls queing up for leftovers. I was entranced and have the image only in my head as my camera was in my boat hatch.                

castle at Loch Awe
I hate the word 'awesome' but since I have discovered that it is derived from Loch Awe (so i pontificate) then I think it's great. It took us ages to find a good launch site the next day at the lakeside and when we did get out of the car we were 'prechtá leis an fuacht'.....frozen with the cold and opted for taking the high road back over the mountain ( jaw dropping vistas) to Oban

Hamish the hairy thats how to keep warm in these here parts

On the way back we took a long cut to see Stalker Castle, Ben Nevis,The Falls of Lora, Glencoe and Rannock Mór...I need to get back to the aaaaawwweeesooomee place as these 4 days were just a taster.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

This morning my dog asked me to go for a walk. I think he knew I needed to blow some cobwebs away. By the look of him I decided to pay Maes Mynan Woods a visit as there is a river running through it and he loves water..much like me. We are kindred spirits. He is a hybrid of springer and labrador and although he is seven he has a childlike puppy look about him. He is a smart dressed guy and wears a full tux always, his night black coat polished by stroking and cuddles with a white cravat and one white toe. For that wonderful full on dog fur smell just add water.

Happy Hound

We set off in the rain and wind and descended down the path climbing over the branches and debris left after the pruning work of wild wind of last weekend. The air was filled with sound and one pair of  happy yellow hammers sang an Ode to Joy that Spring was showing her face. Snowdrops and purple crocuseses are first to check if the coast is clear and the daffs, wild garlic and bluebells are dipping a toe in the watery air.
The edge of Maes Mynan Woods looks out on a red sand quarry. The quarry is quiet today as it's Sunday and a huge lake has taken the place of the sand dumped long ago by  ice that tore it from sandstone from the lake District and Cheshire. The tooting of coots drew my attention to a diving duck that looks like a scaup and these lads usually are sea ducks but take winter minibreaks on freshwater. I used to hate the quarry but changed my mind as it has turned into a buffet for waterfowl.

The river was in spate ( I love that word) and Pip was straight in  and covered in muck, eating rotting branches and jumping around like a mad ejet.  This is where the wild garlic is and even though small shoots are all that I could see, the smell was already strong.

We walked in the river (it's not very deep) upstream and up onto the dam used for an old limeworks and rusting hulks of useful engines litter the place. As the path dissappears under woodfloor we scramble over brambles and branches. I love coming accross a huge set of curvy topped stone gate posts that must have straddled an old road now long gone and the gate with it. I could smell fox. Badger loos and diggings were everywhere. Pip loves rolling in the foul smelling stuff- not this time TG
We eventually slipped and slide down a steep bank back to the river again and came accross a scarlet red heart shaped fungus growing on a rotting log in the river. I must remember to bring my camera with me.

Anyway...gotta go and make tea............................

It's raining so why not start a blog instead of gardening

I have started this blog today as it is raining and I am not going to do the garden in the rain. I had a great session of feeling the earth in my hands in the waking spring soil yesterday and it felt good to be back.

I had left all the plants die back naturally so as to leave a duvet to protect the soil and any creatures and seeds that were in sleep mode over winter. I know how they feel. I could almost hear the soil breathing a sigh of relief and it smelt wonderfully musty and living at the same time.

I only managed to untangle a tiny bit and was glad to see that my' Love lies bleeding ' plant, sedum, scabious were ok and I could almost hear them stretching fresh suculent shoots skyward. My Rosemary was petrified again this year though..same happened last year and I broke my promise to cosy it up before winter.
So, me thinks this blog is really for my own amusement and only for the things that make me feel good and not for the crazy stuff that goes on in this world that doesn' political commentry here ..just random thoughts on the stuff I love and love to do mostly  'amuigh faoin spéir' or out under the sky.

This beauty visited my garden last summer and I was so happy to see it..I had tried to create a habitiat for all sorts and this peacock butterfly was such a jewel to see.